Japan is a beautiful country with rich history and culture that many people would love to experience. Unfortunately, traveling to Japan can be expensive and confusing for those who have never been before. However, by following these simple japan travel tips, you will have the trip of a lifetime.
First of all, research prices from several different airlines and travel websites. The cheapest tickets usually come months in advance and sell out fast!
Why Japan is the Best Country to Visit?
There are a lot of people who visit Japan every year, but why? Why go to Japan? The question is: What makes Japan so great? In this case, you’ve come to the right place.
You can find all of the beautiful things that Japan has to offer that you won’t find anywhere else, I’m going to show you everything from Tokyo to Kyoto, from Osaka to Nara.
People who want to visit Japan right now might want to check out this list of 10 reasons why. These are the 10 things you’ll miss the most when you leave:
1. Japan’s Temples and Shrines are Incredible
It’s worth going to Japan just to see the beautiful old Buddhist and Shinto shrines. Kyoto is one of the best-preserved cities in Japan, with more than 2,000 Buddhist temples and shrines in the Kansai Region.
Nara, on the other hand, has a lot of UNESCO World Heritage Sites and some of the best temples in the country.
2. Japan is the Cleanest Country in the World
This city has a strong sense of cleanliness, and its cities are very clean. Public places, like streets, train or subway stations, and restrooms, are very well-kept.
White gloves are worn by a lot of people at work, especially by people who drive. White and white. How could that be white? There are huge people in Tokyo, but even they keep the city clean.
Everything looks like it’s just been bought. In the future, people will treat their surroundings with care. Japan is a window into that future.
3. Japan is Filled with Natural Wonders
Japan has a lot of beautiful landscapes all over the country, and people can go and enjoy them. Many people think of Japan when they think of skyscrapers, bright neon lights, and cutting-edge technology.
But there’s a lot more to Japan than its urban landscapes. During any season, Japan is a great place for nature lovers to visit because of the beautiful scenery, many temples and gardens, and the many mountains and forests.
4. Japanese Culture is Fun to Discover
Japanese people make everything look like a cartoon and make plastic food look amazing. They have some of the weirdest music videos and the best food in the world.
They came up with banana slipcases, square watermelons, baby mops, and cuddle pillows that they made. The toilets can talk to you, dry your bottom, and even play music for you (to mask and relax) as you do your business.
5. Japanese Public Transportation is Freakishly Efficient
As much as I hated the traffic in Tokyo, I do miss being able to take the train all over the city and country. Also, I really liked how on time the trains were in Japan.
During my trips, I mostly took local trains and Shinkansens to get around. During those trips, they were never late, not once.
This is what it would be like to live in a place where when a train is supposed to arrive, it actually comes in at 8.29. It then leaves at 8.30.
6. Everything is Cute in Japan
As time goes on, it gets cuter and cuter in Japan. The mascots of most big companies in Japan are very cute. This is true even for the Japanese police force.
It’s called “escapism,” and it’s when people try to get away from reality or their daily routine by daydreaming and fantasizing. People who are artists say that it’s one of the things that make Japanese art look good. People in Japan just like cute things.
7. Japan’s Cherry Blossom Season is a Sight to Behold
Cherry blossom season is one of the most popular times of year for tourists to visit Japan. They fly into cities like Tokyo or Kyoto to see this million-dollar view.
It’s a lot of fun to have hanami parties in Japan. People get really excited about picnicking under the snowy white trees. When the sakura blossoms last for a few weeks, they will drink and eat with family, friends, and co-workers to enjoy them while they are still here.
8. Japanese Food is To Die For
Was there ever a doubt that Japanese food would be on the top 10 list? You should go to Japan because the food is so good that it’s probably the most important reason.
The best sushi, sashimi, donburi, ramen, udon, Kobe beef, soup, or any other food can be found at any random hole-in-the-wall food place. Even the 7-11s have high-quality food that will make you both weirded out and hungry at the same time!
Also, did you know that Tokyo has more noodle shops than any other city in the world? Did you know that Japan is the country with the most three-star Michelin restaurants in the whole world?
9. Japan is Very Safe for Solo Travel
Safest country: Japan is thought to be one of the safest in Asia. Report: Only 1.4 percent of the population has been assaulted. Japan is so safe that you can party like it’s 1990, fall down drunk in the middle of Tokyo, and wake up with your wallet and cell phone.
10. Japanese People Are Generally Really Kind
They’re polite and gracious, and they remember your name even though they’ve only met you once (I so do not have the same talent).
If you need help, they’ll do everything in their power to help you. My favorite part of leaving was having to leave the people I had met so soon.
What Should I Know Before Visiting Japan?
The last time I was in Asia, I went on my first trip to Japan, which was also my first time going anywhere in Asia. When I go to a new country for the first time, I enjoy getting out of my comfort zone and experiencing a new culture that is very different from my own.
Besides, no one wants to be that bumbling tourist who draws attention in the wrong way! Check out these japan travel tips if you’re going to Japan for the first time!
1. Trash cans are few and far between.
Keep a plastic bag with you in case you need to throw something away. You won’t find trash cans in Japan. This is very important if you plan to eat street food! Many people carry their trash around for a long time before they can throw it away.
2. Rent a pocket Wi-Fi.
In Japan, I rented a pocket Wi-Fi, and it was a lifesaver because I couldn’t stay in touch with my friends and family. There are a lot of people living in Tokyo, so you’ll need all the help you can get when you go there.
All the time, I used Google Maps to figure out where we were going to walk and how to get there by subway or train, both inside the city and between cities. It was very important to have a mobile hotspot at all times.
3. JR Pass might not be worth it for you.
You should get a JR Pass before you go. For my trip, it would have been a huge waste of money. I did the math, and it wouldn’t have been worth it.
The only way you’ll get your money’s worth is if you plan to visit a lot of cities in a week. To get around Tokyo and Kyoto, you only need a Suica or Pasmo card to pay for things.
4. More places accept credit cards.
Another thing that people say about Japan is that you can’t use your credit cards in most stores. Not at all! It was true that there were a few small shops and street vendors that only took cash.
But for me, it was just like any other trip I’ve been on. Don’t forget to bring some cash with you. Many restaurants and stores still let you pay with your card.
5. Don’t try to give tips.
Don’t need to give tips to the taxi drivers, waiters, or bartenders because they work for you. There are no tips in Japan. There is a chance they will be offended if you try to leave extra money. The best way to avoid confusion is to just pay the price it’s set at.
6. Some restaurants do not allow shoes.
It was a little weird at first, but then the hostess took our shoes off and put them in a small box behind the hostess stand.
At a different restaurant, we took our shoes off at the table and tucked them next to our booth. You should always wear socks.
7. Respect subway rules.
Everybody else does, and you should too! The next time you use public transportation, be quiet and kind. That means you can’t talk on your cell phone or eat or drink. There are special seats for pregnant women, elder people, and people with disabilities.
Make sure you don’t sit in those seats. You should line up on the left side of the subway platform door and wait for people on the train to leave before getting on.
8. Department stores are a foodie’s paradise.
In the basement level of Japanese department stores, there’s a food lover’s dream come true. That’s what it looks like when you think of the jewelry counter at your local department store.
But instead of jewelry, it’s full of delicious food of every kind! I went to Isetan and bought everything from tempura to macarons to herbal tea. There were no photos allowed.
9. Tattoos are still a little taboo.
A lot of people are getting tattoos these days, but there is still a lot of social stigma attached to them. if you want to go to a traditional onsen (a hot spring-fed public bathhouse), most of the places won’t let people who have tattoos come in. I took some tape with me just in case.
10. Get used to high-tech toilets.
Western-style toilets in Japan have more electronic options than you ever thought possible, like heated seats, bidets, deodorizers, and noisemakers, which you can use to make your bathroom more pleasant.
And that’s just a few! This type of toilet is found at some shrines, temples, and older buildings. It’s made of wood and is built into the floor. Squatting over it can be hard for some foreigners to do, but many public restrooms will have both options for people to choose from.
How Should I Prepare for a Trip to Japan?
Every time we go away from home, we need to write down what we need to bring with us. When our trip is going to last more than a few days, this is very important. Please pay attention to what we have to say today.
If you forget to bring your passport, you won’t even be able to leave your country. Putting it near your wallet or with other important documents is a good idea.
It’s a good idea to always have it with you. Remember that it must be valid for the whole time you’re there, and it must not have any missing or broken pages!
Running out of your phone battery and you don’t have your phone charger with you, it can be very stressful to not have your charger with you. To tell your family and friends that you’ve arrived in Japan, you might need to keep your battery charged. However, this can lead us to the next point…
Plug adaptor: Even if we have the charger, we may need an adapter to plug it into the Japanese electrical system. This is even if we already have the charger (Japanese plugs have 2 flat pins, instead of rounded ones or 3 pins as we can see in other countries).
Plug adaptors are easy to find in most electronic stores. Even if you forget to bring one with you, there are shops at both Haneda and Narita airports that sell them. You can also find them in many of the electronic stores in Japan.
Insurance is very important because the health care system in Japan is very good, but it can also be very expensive, so you need to have good insurance.
The insurance should cover you for the whole time you’re there, and you should keep the number in your phone contacts. You don’t know when you will need it.
In Tokyo, the weather changes a lot over time. There will likely be no rain or snow when you come in the winter, but some days will be cold and dry.
The temperature will reach 0 degrees Celsius on some of them. Winter clothes and a warm hat should not be left behind. This means that the weather is more predictable in the spring and fall, but there may still be cold days and weather that isn’t always the same, with warmer days and cold nights.
A good idea for these times is to be dressed in layers, so you can wear or take them off depending on the time of day. Make sure to bring your tee shirts and shorts for the summer. In return, if you come in the summer, you will be able to see some of the most famous traditional festivals and a lot of fireworks events.
A good dictionary is also important if our Japanese skills aren’t very good yet, but we still need to learn more. Forget the old, heavy books. You can download any phone app that lets you search for any word to translate, and it’s quick and easy! A great way to learn the language!
Is Tokyo Japan Safe to Travel?
Japan is known as one of the safest countries in the world. It’s very rare for people to be robbed or have their things stolen in this country. People leave their things in cafes and bars (though we don’t recommend it!). A few things to consider before you go:
Environmental and weather safety
In the “Ring of Fire,” Japan is often hit by natural disasters because of the way the region’s tectonic plates move. These natural disasters include earthquakes, tsunamis, very high flooding, and typhoons, among other things.
As Japanese infrastructure is built to handle many of these things, they don’t usually cause a lot of damage. However, if the global climate crisis isn’t properly addressed, these events are likely to become more common and more dangerous.
Typhoons are the most common natural disasters that people who go on vacation are likely to run into. From August to October, typhoon season is in full swing.
It can start as early as May, though. During these months, there is a good chance that there will be a lot of rain and a lot of wind. There is also a chance that there will be flooding.
As even the most powerful typhoons move very slowly, there’s little chance that you’ll be caught off-guard by one. As long as you have the proper clothes and some extra activities you can do inside, you will not like to be in any danger because of typhoons.
It happens all the time in Japan, but most earthquakes are very mild and don’t do much damage. This is because the country uses a rating system called “Shindo,” which is a way to measure how bad an earthquake is.
In the event of a big earthquake, follow the advice of your Intrepid leader or the people in your area. If you are on your own, drop to the ground and cover your neck and shoulders to protect yourself from debris that might fall.
There are many people who think that when there is an earthquake, the safest place to hide is in the doorway. This isn’t true in most modern buildings, though. However, if there is a sturdy desk nearby, it’s a good place to hide if you get hurt.
In 2011, the largest earthquake in Japan’s history caused a huge tsunami that killed a lot of people. Since then, major sea walls have been built in areas that are at risk from tsunamis. Travelers should not be too worried about the risk of tsunamis.
Safety for solo female travelers
In general, Japan is a place where women can feel comfortable and safe when they travel there alone. Using words to harass people on the street isn’t very common in Japan, so women can usually walk alone without being harassed.
There is still a lot of “chikan” in Japan, which is when people touch and rub each other without permission. This happens a lot on crowded trains. Women-only train cars have been put on some train lines by some companies, but their existence isn’t always agreed upon.
Convictions for people who sexually assault other people are very rare. It’s also common in cities like Kyoto and Tokyo for people to take pictures of women without their permission by pointing a camera under their skirts.
Tips for staying safe in Japan
- Carefully think about whether the season you want to go on vacation in fits your physical limitations or your own personal tastes.
- Check the weather reports often.
- Be aware of where you can get out of your hotel or motel.
- Get a local SIM card or find a way to stay in touch at all times while you’re away.
- Download the Yurekuru Call app to get alerts about earthquakes.
- Purchase a comprehensive travel insurance policy.
Is Japan water safe to drink?
Yes, you can drink water in Japan from the tap.
Buying bottled water in Japan is bad for the environment, so try to use a water bottle that can be filled with water instead.
These public water fountains can be hard to find if you don’t go to a metro train station (this is the land of vending machines after all). In order to make sure you’ll have a bottle of reusable water when you need it, you should fill it before you leave for the day.
Intrepid wants to help keep the natural and built environments in the places we visit safe and well-preserved. We also want to minimize the negative effects our activities have on the environment.
The way we do this is by reducing the number of resources we use (energy, water, waste), as well as cutting down on our carbon emissions at work, on trips, and in the places, we visit. We want people to use a refillable bottle so that they don’t use a lot of paper or plastic.
What Should I Avoid in Japan?
Visitors to a country with a different way of life, like Japan, can be a little scared by the rules and social norms that govern public life and relationships between people. Foreigners who visit Japan don’t need to know everything about Japanese etiquette, but knowing a few basics will help you adapt to the culture and avoid cultural faux pas. There are a few cultural faux pas you should avoid if you’re going to Japan.
1. Don’t break the rules of chopstick etiquette.
If you’re good at using chopsticks, the Japanese will be impressed. But if you make the following mistake, people will be sure to look at you.
You should never put your chopsticks vertically in your bowl of rice because this looks like a funeral. If you need to put them down, use the chopstick holder next to your plate to do it. To avoid breaking another rule, don’t use chopsticks to pass food to someone else’s chopsticks, because this is also against the rules.
Take the food with your chopsticks and put it on your own plate before you eat it. And don’t rub your chopsticks together, because it’s bad to do that, too.
2. Don’t wear shoes indoors.
If you’re going to a Japanese home, you should take your shoes off as soon as you get through the door. “Outdoor” shoes are considered unclean, and for this reason, they’re replaced with “indoor” slippers at the entranceway.
Even traditional ryokan hotels, some temples and shrines, public schools, and hospitals have this no-shoes rule. It is safe to assume that shoes must be taken off when you see them lined up at the door or entrance. Slippers are often available for you to slip on.
Shoes are also not allowed in the parts of restaurants where people sit on the floor on traditional tatami mats, which are made of wood and paper. Slippers are not worn in this case because they could damage the straw mats. Make sure your socks match and there are no holes in them!
It’s also a good idea to change your “indoor” slippers for the “toilet” slippers when you go to the bathroom. These are kept at the door of the toilet area, which is usually separate from the bathroom. They are there for this reason. Don’t forget to switch again when you leave the bathroom!
3. Don’t ignore the queuing system.
As you might expect, the Japanese love to line up in orderly single file when they wait for a bus, on a train platform, or even for the elevator.
On platforms at train stations, there are lines on the floor indicating where to stand and wait for your train.
When the train comes, the doors will open right in the middle of the two lines of commuters who have been waiting. Do not get on the train until all the passengers have left, and then do so in single file.
4. Avoid eating on the go.
There aren’t many people in Japan who eat or drink while they’re on the move. Street stands and stalls sell fast food that can be eaten while standing up.
People who buy drinks from vending machines in public places also drink them right away and throw the can or bottle in the recycling bin next to the machine. People don’t like to eat or drink on public transportation, but this doesn’t apply to long-distance trains.
5. Don’t get into a bathtub before showering first.
Most Japanese people have a bathtub in their house, and it’s usually already filled with hot water. It’s not good to wash your body in these. They’re only for relaxing. People in Japan use this type of tub called “furo,” which is usually square in shape.
It’s smaller and deeper than a typical western tub because of this. Before getting in the tub, you need to clean it thoroughly with a shower or faucet that is usually nearby.
If you’re going to a public bath or “onsen,” the same “shower first” rule is in place. Rules for the onsen are different from those for the rest of the hotel.
You can’t wear bathing suits, your hair should be tied up to keep it out of the water and never let your towel touch the water, and don’t swim in the onsen. Because tattoos are linked to gangs, they’re not welcome in Japan. It may impossible for you to use a public bath if you have a tattoo there.
6. Don’t blow your nose in public.
It is rude in Japan to blow your nose in public, so don’t do it. If you have a running nose, look for a bathroom or another place that isn’t public.
People often wear face masks in public, especially in the winter. This means they have a cold and don’t want to spread germs and make other people sick.
7. Don’t leave a tip.
The U.S. has a culture where tipping is required. In Japan, there is no tipping culture, and leaving a tip may even be seen as an insult. You don’t need to pay extra for service when you go to a restaurant. Even taxi drivers won’t let you round off the fare.
Leaving a few coins on the table is sure to get the waiter’s attention. He’ll be sure to return your lost money.
8. Avoid loud phone conversations while on public transit.
Japan is a country that likes to use its phones in a discreet way. When they’re out in public, they try to keep their phone calls short and quiet.
Many people use their phones while riding public transportation to text, listen to music, watch videos, or read. Phone calls are very rare. Move to a quiet place where there aren’t many people.
9. Don’t point.
In Japan, it is rude to point at people or things. People in Japan don’t use their fingers to point at things. They use their hands to gently wave at the things they want to point out instead.
For example, when people talk about themselves, they will use their forefinger to touch their noses rather than point at themselves. It’s also rude to use your chopsticks to point at something.
10. Don’t pour soy sauce on your rice.
In Japan, soy sauce is never poured on rice. Always put soy sauce in the small dish that is meant for this and not on your rice or other food. To do this, use your chopsticks to dip the sushi or sashimi in the sauce, then eat it.
11. Avoid giving and receiving things with one hand.
In Japan, people always use both hands when they give and get things, even small things like business cards. At a shop or cafe, many people put their money in a small tray that’s near a register instead of handing it to the cashier, which can be a hassle.
12. Don’t serve yourself a drink.
When you’re out with friends or coworkers, don’t refill your own glass when it’s empty, which is rude. After you finish serving your friends, they will do the same for you. When you pour, you always hold the bottle with both hands.
Why is Japan So Clean?
Honestly, have you ever wondered why Japanese streets are so clean and how they keep them that way? If you want to know what we think about the way things are, read on.
Japan has a strong tradition of being clean. It is not unusual to see these signs on buildings that tell people to keep the area clean of litter and trash, and workers keep the streets and many train stations clean. Is Japan’s street clean for the most part?
What are 10 Interesting Facts About Japan?
If you’re going to visit Japan for the first time or you know a lot about it already, there’s always more to learn about this fascinating place. A few fun facts will help you plan your next trip.
1. It’s good manners to slurp your noodles
Japan places a lot of value on being polite, but when it comes to eating noodles, there’s only one way to do it: loudly.
When you slurp, it shows you are having fun and also cools down the noodles as you eat. Get your chopsticks in one hand, then lean over your bowl and eat them with one hand. The bowl should be clean by the time you leave.
2. The traditional Christmas Eve meal is KFC
It’s not what you’d expect to find on Christmas in Japan. People in Japan usually go to KFC on Christmas Eve. An estimated 3.6 million Japanese people are expected to eat the KFC Christmas Dinner.
People will have to wait for hours and order weeks in advance. Turkey and chicken may not have been easy to find for Japanese people who wanted to celebrate Christmas. So Colonel Sanders came up with a way for them to get what they wanted.
3. Japan is mostly mountains
People who are famous in Japan live in cities that are very crowded. It’s not the kind of country you’d think of as a place with few people and mountains. The problem is that about 70% of Japan is made up of forests and mountains that aren’t good for farming or living in.
In Japan, there are over 100 volcanoes that are still erupting. The tallest mountain is the famous Mount Fuji, which has a height of 3,776 feet.
4. There’s a Rabbit Island in Japan
Japan is made up of more than 7,000 islands, and each island has its own name. There is a small island in the Inland Sea called Okunoshima, and it’s best known for having curious people with big ears.
In World War II, the island was used to test chemical weapons, and it’s said that the test subjects ran around after the war. In either case, the number of rabbits grew because there were no predators to eat them. Dogs and cats aren’t allowed on Okunoshima.
5. The number four is extremely unlucky
The number four (‘shi’) isn’t used in Japan because it sounds too much like the Japanese word for death. If you look around, you’ll see that buildings don’t have the fourth floor, things are sold in groups of three or five, and people take extra care not to see the number in everyday life.
6. There’s a bizarre naked festival
This festival must be one of the weirdest in Japan. Japan is known for its festivals that go on all year long. Men in Japan strip down in public to make sure they have a good year. The biggest matsuri is in Okayama, where an estimated 9,000 men get down to their fundoshi.
7. Japanese trains are some of the most punctual in the world
In Japan, the average delay for trains is 18 seconds. They always show up on time. Drivers learn to drive in simulators that are so realistic that many drivers do not even require a speedometer to determine their speed. They only drive on one train line.
Also, there’s a lot of competition between rail companies, so lagging behind won’t work. They work hard to keep Japan’s huge number of train commuters, no matter how hard it is (even if it means building fancy department stores in the stations).
8. The Japanese love wacky flavors
In Japan, you may get a variety of strange and beautiful flavors, such as eel ice cream and Green Tea Kit Kats.
Kit Kats are the most popular candy because “Kit Kat” sounds like “Kitto katsu,” which is a Japanese expression that means “good luck.” You can also try Kit Kats that are made with edamame, wasabi, and ginger ale, as well.
9. Everyone has their own seal
There are no signatures in Japan. Instead, people have their own seal. Silk or plant-based paste is used to make Hanko, which is what your name looks like when written in Kanji.
Adults usually have three Hankos: one for signing off on letters and personal things, one for a bank seal, and one for a unique seal that shows who the person is. Tourists don’t need them, but foreigners who live in Japan can have one made in small, local shops by people who speak the language.
10. Anti-ninja floors are a thing
During the feudal era, wealthy Japanese lords built homes with floors that squeak intentionally as a defense against ninjas. These floors, called Nightingale Floors, were made to be squeaky.
The highly-skilled, legendary mercenaries of feudal Japan were so full of myth and folklore that they are able to walk on water, be invisible, and control the natural world. That should be enough to make you want to put down some new floor.
What Attracts Tourists to Japan?
To visit Japan is one of the best things you can do in the world. Unique: It is a mix of old and new, with many temples and buildings from the past and new architecture and technology. Tourists can learn about Japanese history and culture while also getting a look at what the future will look like through new technology.
Most of the historical places are still used for what they were meant to do, but they are still open to the public.
The natural beauty of Japan can be seen at any time of the year, no matter what. Japanese crime rates are also very low, which makes it a great place for tourists to visit. An overview of the top things to see and do in Japan:
1. Golden Pavilion
Most people go to Kinkaku-Ji, which is also known as “the Temple of the Golden Pavilion.” The pavilion was built for Shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu in the late 14th century as a place for him to retire.
A young monk who had become obsessed with the pavilion set it on fire in 1950, but he didn’t know how to put it out. It took five years for the temple to be rebuilt as a perfect copy of the first one, but it was done.
A lot of attention is paid to the building and the gardens around it being in harmony with each other. In this picture, the pavilion is covered in gold leaf, which makes it easy to see how the pavilion and the pond both look in the pond and how they look on the pavilion.
2. Mount Fuji
Mount Fuji is the tallest mountain in Japan. It is 3,776 meters tall (12,388 ft). In art and in photographs, the volcano’s unusually symmetrical cone is a well-known symbol of Japan. It is also a popular tourist attraction for people who want to see and climb.
There are an estimated 200,000 people who climb Mount Fuji every year, 30% of whom are from outside of Japan. Getting up to the top can take anywhere from three to eight hours, and getting down can take anywhere from two to five hours.
3. Tokyo Imperial Palace
Make your way to Tokyo Imperial Palace and you’ll find the Emperor of Japan living there! It is also a place where people can learn about Japanese art and history.
People who built the palace have thought about the past by incorporating design elements from different ages into the modern building. The palace is built on the ruins of old castles that were destroyed by fire or war.
In the new palace, there are lots of places to meet people and host events. It is surrounded by Japanese gardens and has a lot of reception and meeting rooms.
4. Tokyo Tower
The Tokyo Tower is a sign of how technology and modern life have changed. When it was built, it looked a lot like the Eiffel Tower. It is the second tallest man-made structure in Japan, and it serves as a communications and observation tower.
For a unique view of Tokyo and the surrounding area, visitors can climb the tower. They can also shop and eat at restaurants and cafes inside.
5. Todaiji Temple
This temple in Nara is an example of how well people can build things together. It is not only the world’s largest wooden building, but it also has the world’s largest bronze Buddha statue inside of it.
The Kegon school of Buddhism is based here, and the grounds are filled with artifacts from both Japanese and Buddhist history. There are beautiful gardens and animals around the school. Deer can freely roam the grounds because they are messengers for the Shinto gods.
6. Great Buddha of Kamakura
One of the most well-known Buddhist figures in Japan is Amida Buddha, who is depicted in the Great Buddha of Kamakura in a huge outdoor statue. The Great Buddha is made of bronze and stands more than 13 meters (40 feet) tall. It weighs nearly 93 tons.
The statue is said to have been made in 1252. The Great Buddha used to live in a small wooden temple, but that temple was washed away by a tsunami in the 15th century. The Great Buddha now stands in the open air.
7. Himeji Castle
The Himeji Castle is thought to be the best example of Japanese castle architecture that is still around. It was built to protect against enemies during the feudal period, but it has been rebuilt many times over the years and shows the different styles of architecture.
During World War II, it was hit by a lot of bombs. It has been used in both domestic and foreign films, including the James Bond movie You Only Live Twice. With its white exterior and design, the castle looks like a bird taking flight, so it’s been called the “white egret castle.”
Kiyomizu-Dera is a Buddhist temple in the eastern part of Kyoto. It was built in the year 798, and it can be traced back that far. It is in harmony with nature because it has an indoor waterfall that comes from the outside river.
There was not a single nail used in the building process. While people in the area used to jump off the edge to have their wishes come true, modern visitors don’t have to risk their lives to see the shrines, talismans, and artwork.
9. Jigokudani Monkey Park
Near the city of Nagano, Jigokudani Monkey Park is a well-known hot spring area. The name Jigokudani, which means “Hell’s Valley,” comes from the steam and boiling water that comes out of the frozen ground.
It’s surrounded by steep cliffs and cold forests. It is known for having a lot of wild Snow Monkeys that go to the valley when the park is covered in snow in the winter.
The monkeys come down from the steep cliffs and forests to enjoy the warm hot springs. In the evenings, they return to the safety of the forests.
10. Hiroshima Peace Memorial
For the people who lost their lives when the Atomic Bomb was dropped on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, the Hiroshima Peace Memorial is a very sad place. Genbaku Dome stands alone in the middle of a park as a memorial to those who were killed by the bomb.
Seeing this stark reminder of a world at war makes people think about how important human life is. It also honors the victims so they will never be forgotten.
Best Areas to Stay in Tokyo
Tokyo is a very big city. As it turns out, it’s better to think of Tokyo as a group of cities that are linked together by a great transportation system.
Thus, it’s very important to pick a good place to stay. This is why. If you’re not in the best area, you can still get to where you want to go quickly because the transportation system is so good. But wouldn’t it be better to have great restaurants, sights, and shopping right outside your hotel door instead?
There are apartments and hotels all over Tokyo where I’ve stayed in the past. For me, there are three things I look at when I choose a hotel:
- It must be close to the Yamanote Line, which is the most important way to get around in the city.
- It must have a lot of good restaurants and shops that are easy to walk to.
- The area must be beautiful.
At the very least, they’re the best parts of the city. They’re near Tokyo Station and in the two big cities on the west: Shinjuku and Shibuya.
If you want to stay near Tokyo Station and these two hubs, you’ll find Roppongi, which is a great place to stay even though it isn’t on the Yamanote Line. There are a lot of restaurants and other things to do there.
Shinjuku This is one of the city’s most important transportation hubs, and it’s on the Yamanote Line, which is very important to people who live there.
There are a lot of big department stores, a lot of big electronics stores, a lot of restaurants, and Tokyo’s best bookshop: Kinokuniya. Plus, there are a lot of things to see close by.
Our top picks for hotels in Shinjuku are the following:
Luxury: Park Hyatt Tokyo
Mid-Range: Hotel Century Southern Tower
Budget: Hotel Sunroute Higashi Shinjuku
Tokyo Station/Marunouchi Area
You can stay near Tokyo Station and Marunouchi because it’s a great place to live. The best place to stay in the city would be here. It’s very close.
Here, you can find the most important train station, as well as the end station of the Tokaido shinkansen line (for easy access to Kyoto, etc). You can also walk to all of the city’s main department stores in Ginza, Nihombashi, and other places.
And there are a lot of restaurants in the area. Nearby, you’ll find the Imperial Palace and the parks that go around it. There are also a lot of wide and pleasant streets around here, especially in the city of Marunouchi.
Our top hotel picks in the Tokyo Station/Marunouchi area are
Luxury: Mandarin Oriental, Tokyo
Mid-Range: Hotel Ryumeikan Tokyo
Boutique: Four Seasons Hotel at Marunouchi
Shibuya is a huge shopping and transportation center on the west side of the Yamanote Line, next to the Shibuya station. It’s a lot like Shinjuku, and the reasons I like it so much are the same as for Shinjuku: easy transportation, a lot of shops and restaurants, and a lot of things to do.
It’s just a little less crowded than Shinjuku and a little more geared toward young people, if that’s important to you.
Our top picks for the best hotels in Shibuya are these ones.
Luxury: Cerulean Tower Tokyu Hotel
Mid-Range: Hotel Unizo Tokyo Shibuya
Budget: Hotel Fukudaya
It’s another good place to stay. In fact, I’m sure there are a lot of people in Tokyo and people who visit often who would put this at the top.
When I want to go, the only thing stopping me is the fact that Roppongi doesn’t go on the Yamanote Line. To be on the loop line is important when I’m in Tokyo. The first place you think of is likely to be Roppongi if you don’t want to move around too much.
If you like good food, good nightlife, and a lot of things to do, you should think about staying in Roppongi. There are a lot of sexy people in this part of the city. It’s where the rich people from both Japan and other countries go to eat and drink money.
Our top hotel picks near Roppongi are these ones.
Luxury: The Ritz-Carlton Tokyo
Mid-Range: Hotel Villa Fontaine Roppongi
Budget: Hotel Asia Center of Japan
Boutique: Roppongi Hotel S
Shiodome is a small area south of Tokyo Station that has a lot of high-rise office and hotel towers in a small area. The Yamanote Line runs from Tokyo Station to Shimbashi Station, which is two stops from Tokyo Station.
It’s a short walk from here to get there. In other words, it isn’t a big deal. Good places to eat are also close by.
Our top hotel picks around Shiodome, Shimbashi, and Hamamatsucho are
Luxury: Conrad Tokyo
Mid-Range: Royal Park Hotel The Shiodome
Ebisu, Meguro and Daikanyama
EBISu and Meguro are two small cities that are near the Yamanote Line on the south side. It is a big city to the east. Daikanyama is a small town to the west.
These three areas are thought to be the best places to live by Tokyo’s most fashionable and well-off people. People who live in these areas love great cafes, hip restaurants, boutique shopping, and pleasant walks down pretty streets. There are a few hotels in these areas that let you do that, as well.
Our picks for the best hotels in Ebisu, Daikanyama, and Meguro are
Luxury: The Westin Tokyo
Mid-Range: Sheraton Miyako Hotel Tokyo
Budget: Hotel Mid in Meguro Ekimae
Shinagawa is a place to get around because it is near the southern end of the Yamanote Line. Not many people live there, but it’s right next to the loop line and Tokaido Shinkansen line, so it’s very easy to stay here (especially if you plan to hop on and off the shinkansen).
There are a lot of good hotels in this area that take advantage of the good transportation in the area.
Our picks for the best hotels in Shinagawa are
Luxury: Conrad Tokyo in nearby Shiodome
Best Areas to Stay in Kyoto
The following are the best and most convenient places to stay in Kyoto, in rough order of importance. The most convenient places are at the top of the list.
All things being equal, Downtown Kyoto is the best place to be in the city to live. People who stay at this hotel will be able to walk to hundreds of restaurants, shops, and bars, as well as the city’s two subway lines and two train lines.
Also, downtown Kyoto is just a short walk from two of the city’s main sightseeing areas: Southern and Northern Higashiyama.
The best places to stay and stay at a ryokan in downtown Kyoto are these.
Luxury: Kyoto Hotel Okura
Vacation Rental: Iori Machiya Stay
Mid-Range: Solaria Nishitetsu Hotel Kyoto Premier
Another good place to set up shop is in the southern part of Higashiyama. A lot of the city’s best sights are close by, and there are a lot of restaurants around, especially if you stay in or near Gion. Best of all, the streets of Southern Higashiyama are a great place to walk in the dark.
picks for the best hotel and ryokan in Southern Higashiyama
Luxury: Hyatt Regency Kyoto
Ryokan: Yuzuya Ryokan
Mid-Range: Hotel Alza Kyoto
Budget: RC Hotel Kyoto Yasaka
Kyoto Station Area
In general, Kyoto Station is a good place from which to start and end your trip. As you might expect, there are a lot of places to eat and shop.
You’ll also be near Kyoto Station, which makes it easy to travel outside of Japan and take buses to all parts of Kyoto. The downside is that you’ll have to drive to Kyoto to see the sights.
Our top hotel and ryokan picks in the Kyoto Station Area are
Luxury: Hotel Granvia Kyoto
Mid-Range: 22 Pieces
Budget: Sakura Terrace
Central Kyoto is a very big area in the middle of the city that is full of things. You can stay at a lot of good hotels in the middle of Kyoto. They’re not far from downtown and the subway lines.
People who stay in Central Kyoto may have to go to the main sightseeing areas and the restaurants and nightlife downtown. This is a downside to staying there.
Our top hotel and ryokan picks in Centra Kyoto are
Ryokan: Kyomachiya Ryokan Sakura
Mid-Range: Citadines Karasuma-Gojo Kyoto
Budget: Hotel Sunroute Kyoto
To stay in Northern Higashiyama is good if you want to be near greenery and don’t mind getting on your bicycle or taking a bus to get downtown for eating and shopping.
You can also get to the city by train or bus (of course, there are some restaurants in Northern Higashiyama as well). Some ryokan, guesthouses, and vacation rentals can be found in Northern Higashiyama. There aren’t many hotels in this part of the city.
Our top hotel and ryokan picks in Northern Higashiyama are
Ryokan: Nanzenji Sando Kikusui
If you want to stay near nature, Arashiyama isn’t the best place to stay. It’s on the west side of the city. Hoshinoya Kyoto and Arashiyama Benkei are two of the best places to stay in the city. You can get there by boat up the Hozu-gawa River, or you can walk.
For people who want to spend a night or two away from the city, Kibune is a good place to go. It’s in the mountains north of the city. It’s home to the beautiful Ryokan Ugenta, which is a romantic hideaway that can’t be matched.
Best Areas to Stay in Osaka
Here is a list of the best places to stay in Osaka, as chosen by us. It’s based on the following:
- Transportation is very important. As a point of fact, it should be close to the Midosuji subway line.
- There should be a lot of shops and restaurants near where you are going to be going.
- Proximity to tourist attractions is very important.
- The neighborhood should be pleasant, safe, and interesting.
Kita is the best place to stay in Osaka, and it’s at the top of the list. Check all the boxes. There are four train lines that come together at Kita, which is Osaka’s most important transportation center, and they all go through here (the JR Line and three private lines: Hankyu, Keihan and Hanshin).
These get you to other parts of Osaka quickly, as well as Kyoto, Nara, Kobe, and other places in Japan and further away. This line of the Midosuji subway also stops right in the middle of town, so you can get there by train.
Besides shopping, dining, and entertainment, the Kita district in Tokyo is also very big. You’ll be able to find a lot of good restaurants there.
In Kita, there are also a lot of things to do, like go to the museums of Nakanoshima, see the Umeda Sky Building, and go to Kids Plaza. It also has wide, clean, and safe sidewalks that make it a good place to walk around. A good hotel deal could be found here, so you’ll be happy with your choice.
Our top picks for the best hotels in Kita and Umeda are these places.
Luxury: Conrad Osaka
Mid-Range: Imperial Hotel Osaka
Budget: Toyoko Inn Osaka Umeda Higashi
A close second is Kita, which is the best place to stay in Osaka. Minami is very close behind them. In Minami, there are three train lines that come together (the JR Line, the Nankai Line, and the Kintetsu Line).
These are near Nara and Wakayama, as well as southern Osaka. They make it easy to get there. One of the subway lines that run through Minami stops at Shinsaibashi station and Namba station.
Most importantly, Minami is a huge and lively shopping, eating, and entertainment area. As it turns out, Minami might be better for people who want to eat and have fun at night.
picks for the best hotel in Minami:
Luxury: Swissotel Nankai Osaka
Budget: First Cabin Midosuji Namba
Boutique: Cross Hotel Osaka
Honmachi (Central Osaka)
As a compromise, you can stay right in the middle of them, in Honmachi (Central Osaka). In Honmachi, things are a lot less noisy and calm than in Kita or Minami. Even though there aren’t as many places to shop and eat, there are still a lot of places to go.
It’s easy to walk to either Kita or Minami from Honmachi if you like to walk a lot. If you don’t want to walk, you don’t have to, because the Midosuji subway line stops in the middle of Honmachi (at Honmachi Station).
It will get you to where you want to go. Honmachi isn’t as well-known as Kita or Minami, so hotels there are a little cheaper than they are in other cities.
picks for the best hotel in Honmachi:
Luxury: St. Regis Osaka
Mid-Range: City Plaza Osaka
Boutique: Arietta Hotel Osaka
To get to the Shinkansen (bullet train), you’ll need to get to the Shin-Osaka Area. You can get to downtown Osaka by taking the Midosuji subway line.
Because if you have a job that will take you all over Japan, or if you have the Japan Rail Pass and want to use the shinkansen in order to really see Japan, then staying in Shin-Osaka can save you a lot of both time and money.
With the subway, even though you’d be in the north end of Osaka, you’d still be only 5 to 10 subway stops away from the city’s main cities. Shin-Osaka Station is also very close to a lot of places to eat and buy things to do. Because it’s such a big transportation center, this area is full of cheap hotel rooms.
Our top picks for the best hotels in Shin-Osaka are these places.
Mid-Range: Remm Shin-Osaka
Family: Shin-Osaka Station Hotel Honkan
Shopping, dining, and entertainment are all in one place at the southern end of Osaka in the Tennoji area. There are a lot of things to do in the area that are close by. They feel a little rougher on these streets, but it’s safe because this is Japan.
Because this area isn’t as well-known as other parts of the city, hotel prices tend to be cheaper here. As in the other places on this list, the Midosuji subway line stops here, so you can easily get to other parts of Osaka.
Here are our picks for the best hotels in the area.
Luxury: Osaka Marriott Miyako Hotel
Mid-Range: Hotel Bali Tower Osaka Tennoji
Budget: Super Hotel Osaka Tennoji
Family: Shin-Osaka Station Hotel Honkan
Osaka Castle Area
To get away from the people in Osaka and to be near a big park where you can walk or run, the Osaka Castle Area might be a good place for you. If you want to eat well, there are enough shops and restaurants here to keep you going.
The rest of Osaka is only a short subway or taxi ride away. Because it’s a little more difficult to get to than other parts of Osaka, hotels here are often cheaper.
Our favorite places in the Osaka Castle area are these:
Budget: Hotel the Lutheran
Family: Hotel Keihan Kyobashi Grande
What to Eat in Japan?
Japanese food is amazing because of its complexity of flavor, the variety of seasonal dishes, and the health benefits it has that you didn’t know about. In a typical Japanese meal, you’ll almost always see rice or noodles with a bowl of soup, pickles, and at least one okazu dish of fish, meat, vegetable, or tofu on the side.
People who live on an island eat a lot of seafood and use seasonal ingredients to add a lot of variety to their food. Japanese food is always beautiful and is the result of centuries of history. It’s a treat for the eyes as well as the stomach. Take a look at these typical Japanese food choices to make your stomach rumble. Itadakimasu!
1. Teishoku – a set meal
Many people like to eat set meals at lunchtime, and most restaurants have set meals of some kind. Set meals usually include rice, pickles, soup, and the main dish of fish, seafood, vegetables, or meat.
They usually also include a salad and dessert. Teishoku is a great way to learn about everyday Japanese food because it comes with a lot of food and costs very little.
They serve kaiseki, which is a traditional Japanese tasting menu that some of the better restaurants serve. Kaiseki is an art form that requires a lot of attention to taste, texture, appearance, and color. Only fresh, seasonal ingredients are used. Expect to pay a lot more for the best service and the best presentation.
This is one of the most popular foods in Japan. It’s crispy, tasty, a little bit unhealthy, and cheap. Choose from prawns, fish, squid, vegetables, or tofu. They are lightly battered and quickly deep-fried to keep the vitamins and minerals in them. Serve it on its own, or add it to noodles or rice with a variety of sauces.
3. Noodles: soba, udon, and ramen
In addition to being very tasty, noodles are also very cheap. They can be used in place of rice in a meal. To make soba noodles, you first mix buckwheat flour with water.
Then, you cook the noodles in boiling water or cold water until they are soft enough to eat. People can eat udon hot or cold with soy or fish soup. Udon is made of wheat and is thick.
Perhaps the most popular type of noodles in Japan is Ramen. There are more than 10,000 restaurants that serve this type of noodles (although originally from China). Ramen comes in both thin and thick varieties.
Most often, it comes with a hot broth made from fish, pork, miso, or soy and is topped with tempura, crumbed pork, or slices of meat.
Many noodle shops use vending machines to sell their food. You don’t need to buy a ticket at the vending machine when you get in the theater. Choose whether you want your noodles hot or cold, thick or thin, how many to serve, and what kind of topping you want.
Hand the receipt to the chef or staff member who will make it right there and then. They will do it right there. A good place to sit or stand and slurp your noodles with everyone else.
Okonomiyaki is a fun, interactive way to eat that is great for groups. As you can see, the batter is mixed with all of your favorite things and then fried like a pancake right in front of you.
Okonomiyaki means “grill your favorite,” and there is a lot of variety in the ingredients you can use. Seafood, beef, chicken, bacon, tofu, cheese, corn, onions, and other vegetables are some of the things you can use to make it.
It is topped with a rich brown sauce, mayonnaise, and dried bonito flakes when the batter is done cooking. Everyone in the group usually orders their own okonomiyaki. Many restaurants let you cook your own, which is a fun way to enjoy the meal.
Teppanyaki adds fun to the dinner table. In front of you are the chef and his big grill pan. You can see him carefully cook your food right in front of you.
This show of the chef’s cooking skills is part of the fun of teppan. In a lot of the bigger hotels, the teppan chefs actually perform amazing tricks with their knives, chopsticks, and other tools. They juggle with their knives, catch tiny pieces of food with them, and more.
Teppan menus usually come with some kind of beef, from the very popular and expensive Kobe beef to less expensive beef. Vegetables, rice, and pickles are also usually part of the meal.
Japan’s best-known dish, sushi, is also misunderstood around the world. Most people think sushi is just raw fish, but this isn’t true. Good sushi, on the other hand, is a careful mix of vinegared rice, raw fish, and vegetables. It comes in many different forms.
Nigiri is the most common type of sushi, with a piece of raw fish or egg on top of a small bundle of rice. It’s the most common sushi type. Maki sushi is the type that is rolled in ‘nori’ seaweed, which is what makes it different from other sushi.
Temaki sushi is cone-shaped and filled with a variety of different foods. Inari sushi is made with deep-fried tofu that is wrapped around rice. Among the many sushi restaurants in Tokyo, you’re sure to find one that fits your tastes.
This is another fun way to eat in Japan. Yakiniku is a type of barbecue that comes from Korea. It’s a do-it-yourself barbecue with bite-sized pieces of beef, pork, and vegetables that you cook on the grill in front of you as you watch.
When the meat and vegetables are cooked, they are quickly doused in a soy sauce that has sesame seeds, garlic, and sake in it.
It’s common for people to order two or three plates and spend hours cooking and eating them. Rice and pickles are usually served with the meal.
People in Japan think that yakitori is a great thing to have with a beer, and yakitori stands are always full of people even at night. Yakitori is a type of grilled chicken.
Some restaurants serve up to 20 types of skewers, each made from a different part of the chicken, like breast meat, wings, heart, parson’s nose, and skin.
Shio (salt) or tare (spice) can be added to your yakitori to make it taste better (a sweet-salty sauce). A skewer of yakitori costs about 100 to 200 yen, which is a lot of money for a cheap snack.
9. Shabu and Sukiyaki
Shabu is another fun way to eat with friends and family. It comes next to plates of meat and vegetables that have been cut into small pieces. Each person at the table picks up a piece of meat with chopsticks.
and stirs it around in the soup until it’s done. Shabu sauce then goes on the meat and it is eaten before the next piece. Most of the time, shabu is made with beef. It can also be made with seafood and pork.
This is also the case with sukiyaki, which is when you cook meat, fish, vegetables, and other things in a sweet, salty, soy-based soup. The main difference is that ingredients are always bubbling in the pot, and people can pick out the slices they want, dip them in raw eggs, and eat them.
10 . Fugu (blowfish)
Several hundred types of blowfish live in the seas around Japan, and it’s thought that the Japanese have been eating the fish for as long as 15,000 years.
Make sure you try fugu while you’re in Japan. If not for its delicate taste, then for the chance to show off. Only from a licensed expert, of course.
Chefs have to study for a long time to learn how to cook these dangerous sea creatures. It can be eaten in many different ways when fugu is cooked, like by cutting it up into sashimi. boiled in a hot pot or cooked on a grill with vegetables.
The simple japan travel tips in this article will help you have the best time in Japan during your next visit. Now that you’ve gotten some excellent advice, don’t forget to plan ahead and book tickets to Japan before they sell out!